Current Issue #488

Joyce Ho’s thoughtful gestures

Joyce Ho’s thoughtful gestures

This year’s OzAsia Festival will see Taipei-based interdisciplinary artist Joyce Ho present her exhibition Still at the Artspace Gallery in the Adelaide Festival Centre. The exhibition includes installation, video and mixed media works along with a performance piece in the form of an artist talk.

“I am bringing my practice as a whole to the audience in Australia to show the diversity of my work,” says Ho.

In selecting the works to feature in Still Ho has taken the exhibition space into consideration, even doing a site visit in June to get an understanding of the gallery. Artspace is not your usual white cube, and there are lots of windows that needed to be taken into account when selecting works for display.

“When I select work for an exhibition I am trying to arrange it in the space where it creates an experience,” Ho says. “I have a theatre background so I am thinking about how the audience can experience the works rather than looking at the works as single elements.”

Joyce Ho, Overexposed Memory, 2015, single channel video

Much of Ho’s practice explores the rituals and gestures in our everyday lives, in particular the feminine in relationship to the service and labours of Taiwanese culture. Mistakes, errors and imperfections are allowed to exist and evolve into unexpected stories. Her works look at the relationship and tension between people and reality.

“When you look at the works and experience them, it reminds you of what you do in your everyday life and also provides a surreal experience,” says Ho. “That is what I am interested in, the little openings, open for interpretations that relate to something you are familiar with. That’s really what I think, and if art has a function that’s the function for me.”

To enter the exhibition space, the audience walks through Balancing Act, which is comprised of fences that have been fitted with rocking-chair bases to create an unstable feeling.

Another work featured in the exhibition is dream about me, a sculpture on a light box of a woman looking down. The words ‘dream about me’ are written on the light box, prompting the audience to adopt the same gesture as the woman in order to read them.

The exhibition includes video works, Overexposed Memory and Verto X. Overexposed Memory documents the repetitive movement of a girl squeezing and swallowing fruit. The vibrantly coloured objects are rendered with disturbing sounds and violent movement, with the audience unsure what they are watching as the simple act of eating fruit becomes theatrical and absurd.

Ho’s work might focus on gestures and actions, and address what these mean in terms of service and labour in Taiwanese culture, but she is doing it in a very quiet way. Her work is slow, very precise and quietly comments on what these gestures can tell us about ourselves.

Joyce Ho: Still
Artspace Gallery
17 October – 22 November

Artist talks
Radford Auditorium, Art Gallery of South Australia
Tuesday 15 October, 12.30pm
Space Theatre
Wednesday 16 October, 6.30pm

Header image:
Joyce Ho, Every Practice, 2016, plastic gloves, fiber glass, solid wood, 51cm x 35cm x 8.5cm

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